Despite CEO Sergio Marchionne’s protestations and complaints, the Fiat 500e has proven incredibly popular in the only two states where it’s sold, California and Oregon. But the launch of Fiat’s first electric car hasn’t been without its troubles, and according to Green Car Reports a bad code in the transmission control unit could cause the 500e to shift into neutral while driving. That’s led to the fourth recall for the tiny electric car.
That’s obviously a bad thing to happen mid-drive, leading Fiat-Chrysler to recall some 3,851 500es built between 2013 and 2015. Previously, Fiat-Chrysler recalled the 500e due to another software glitch that could cause the car to totally shut down while drive. The other two recalls were for bad axle half-shafts and a potential coolant leakage problem. While sales of the Fiat 500e have been relatively limited, these recalls are no doubt a headache for owners simply wanting a low-cost lease on an electric car.
In fairness though, the entire auto industry has been bogged down by the spectre of massive recall campaigns, whether it be GM’s ignition fiasco or the monstrous Takata airbag recall. That said, four recalls for a car with such limited sales does not bode well for Fiat-Chrysler’s future electrification plans. Marchionne has been shopping around for a buyer for is automaker, repeating the mantra that the industry must consolidate its research…you know, stuff like electrification, which Fiat apparently has little experience with judging by their freshman effort.